Kuhn boost for battling Titans
MAKWETU HANDED HIS FIRST START
Defending champions Titans will continue to try and fill holes in their struggling outfit as Heino Kuhn returns and Wandile Makwetu is set to make his debut in their Four-Day Domestic Series match against the Highveld Lions at Willowmoore Park in Benoni, starting today.
The Titans are languishing in fifth, nearly 50 points off the pace following their 216-run hammering at the hands of the Warriors in East London last week, and now they are also without captain and wicketkeeper/batsman Heinrich Klaasen, who has been called up to the Proteas’ ODI squad.
Makwetu, an SA U19 star who turned 20 last week, will take over the gloves while Kuhn, the 34-year-old veteran who has not yet played for the Titans this season, will open the batting in place of Tony de Zorzi.
The Titans have also made two changes to their bowling attack, with Chris Morris fit again and replacing Eldred Hawken, while Itumeleng Moseki has been preferred to Alfred Mothoa.
The Lions were ruthless in beating the Dolphins by nine wickets last week, but they know anything less than victory will kill off their chances of catching the Cape Cobras at the top.
They will be without Rassie van der Dussen, who has been their best batsman this season with 496 runs at 55.11, Dwaine Pretorius and Reeza Hendricks, who have all been selected for the Proteas. Wihan Lubbe, Ryan Rickelton and Dominic Hendricks are their replacements.
The Titans owe their coach Mark Boucher a much-improved showing – “We can look for excuses as much as we want, but quite simply, we haven’t played good cricket in all departments. It’s been frustrating and we’ll have to go back to the drawing board and see how we can improve,” he said.
When the two Gauteng rivals met in Potchefstroom at the end of October, it was a high-scoring affair, with the Titans under some pressure before Shaun von Berg’s 81 not out took them to safety.
Bottom team Dolphins were particularly poor last weekend against the Lions, but coach Grant Morgan will continue to back his younger players as they host the Knights in Pietermaritzburg.
The Cobras, firmly planted at the top, entertain the Warriors at Newlands, and coach Ashwell Prince, who has carefully cultivated a winning side in Cape Town, says they will stick with their same methodical approach.
“The 19.4-point lead we have can be turned around pretty quickly if things don’t go the right way, so it’s one game at a time,” Prince said.